The number of coronavirus cases in Washington state has surpassed 1 million, with a new surge in cases largely driven by the highly transmissible omicron variant.
The state Department of Health confirmed the number on Wednesday, just nine days shy of two years since the first case in the country was confirmed in Washington on Jan. 21, 2020. Washington surpassed 500,000 total coronavirus cases in August, the wave at that time fueled by the delta variant.
The department reported 17,464 new cases and 77 new deaths statewide Wednesday. The update brings the state’s totals to 1,009,187 cases and 10,103 deaths, meaning that 1% of people diagnosed in Washington have died, according to the DOH. The data is as of 11:59 p.m. Tuesday.
Wednesday’s total case counts may include up to 1,600 duplicates, according to DOH.
Health officials reported the tragic milestone of Friday, as the region battles yet another wave of infections and hospitalizations.
Unvaccinated Washingtonians make up about 75% of all COVID deaths, while vaccinated Washingtonians make up about 19%. About 5% had been partially vaccinated.
Washington’s population, as of 2020, is nearly 7.6 million residents, meaning that almost 1 in 7 people in the state has contracted COVID-19.
In addition, 48,084 people have been hospitalized in the state because of the virus — 296 new hospitalizations. In King County, the state’s most populous, state health officials have confirmed a total of 257,298 COVID diagnoses and 2,172 deaths.
Coronavirus hospitalizations in King County are up about fivefold since mid-December, according to health officials. Hospitals in the county were caring for about 400 COVID patients, and as of Friday, the highest number the county has seen.
The sudden increase in coronavirus-related hospitalizations across the state is pushing health care systems close to a “crisis point,” health officials said.
Since vaccination distribution began in mid-December, the state and health care providers have administered 12.2 million doses and 63% of Washingtonians have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to DOH’s vaccination data, which is updated on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Providers are currently giving an average of about 20,600 shots per day.